The dramatic beauty of the Italian lakes has seduced visitors from Roman emperors to the Romantic poets. Today the waterside Belle Époque villas and picture-postcard villages remain as popular as ever for international buyers, thanks to easy access to the cities of Milan and Verona, the ski resorts of Italy and Switzerland, several international airports – and even the beaches of the Italian Riviera.
The desire for greater immersion in the natural environment remains key for many home buyers, says Paola Cleps, Savills international associate covering the Italian lakes. “With the option of remote working allowing owners to spend longer periods here, some have switched their main residence to their lakeside property. The Italian flat-tax regime [under which those who transfer their tax residency to Italy pay a flat rate of €100,000 a year on foreign income] is another inducement to spend at least half a year here.”
Como and Garda tend to grab the headlines, but there are, in fact, eight Italian lakes in this part of northern Italy, each with its own particular charm. Lake Como featured in the top 20 of Savills World Second Home Locations Index 2023, which rates 60 places for their leisure and lifestyle offering, ease of access and prime property markets. It is famed for its elegant gardens and iconic Villa d’Este hotel, yet a raft of new five-stars – including Il Sereno and Passalacqua – and an increase in luxury villa rentals mean it is hard to beat for high-end accommodation, says Cleps.